A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Black Rockers

Yankee Candle seemed as good a place as any to shop for a little gift I'd be needing this weekend. I pass the flagship store twice a day, on my way to and from work at Channing Bete. It's more than a store; it's a tourist destination point, with a big sign that proclaims it "The Scenter of the Universe."

I'd been in there once before, several years ago, but all I took away from that early visit was the overpowering smell of all those fragranced candles. So, it being Friday, TGIF and all that, I wasn't opposed to a little poking around. I amused myself for over an hour walking all around the complex of buildings (store, museum, restaurant, and so on), first outside and then in, finally picking out a small gift from the very last merchandising station.

The complex is set off from the road by a greensward that would make most groundskeepers sigh with envy. The buildings are encircled by porches, porticos, and covered sidewalks, all of those likewise encircled by a swath of plantings. All of the flora has been meticulously fed, watered, and trimmed, so that now, at the climax of the growing season, the plants are so large and healthy as to be a mite scary.

What arrested me particularly about these bold, proliferant beds was the preponderance of black flowers. The same elephant-ear caladiums I had noted in Stratton were there, along with black cattails, an evil-looking black bush I couldn't identify, and these hanging baskets with sooty sweet potato vines trailing all the way to the ground. Deep yellow thunbergia (black-eyed Susan vine) with their dark centers, even a row of black rockers on the porch. Is this a new landscaping trend I'm unaware of? Kind of menacing overall.

Ugly Fence

Concert night again tonight down at Stearns Square. Tazzy wanted to go more than I did, so we walked over together, but of course since she's a dog, she couldn't go in, and since I was with her, I couldn't go in either. They've started putting up an ugly orange fence around the proceedings, which goes a long way towards spoiling the whole event for me. I always liked the easy openness of it...the blankets, the beach chairs, the bikes, people strolling around, dancing here and there.

Heavy police presence has done nothing to spoil the atmosphere. The cops obviously enjoy the gig. They hum and sway along with everyone else, and always appear genial and friendly. You can imagine that they're there to find lost babies or get ambulances for heart attack victims. But the ugly orange fence is a real downer. It seems to be saying: after 9/11, we can't be too careful. We have to have checkpoints.

So, because I wanted to go with my dog, I couldn't go in. I couldn't get anywhere near the stage. It was the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, a Grammy-award-winning swing group, and I guess they were good, but I just wasn't in the mood. Didn't we learn anything from Woodstock?